Bakery pushes back Norwich reopening date after daily taking dropped to £26

Owners of Two Magpies Bakery; Rebecca Bishop and Steve Magnall. Picture: Archant

Owners of Two Magpies Bakery; Rebecca Bishop and Steve Magnall. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

An artisan bakery which was taking £16,000 a week prior to the pandemic took just £26 on Boxing Day - a stark sign of how even the healthiest businesses are being choked by lockdown. 

The Two Magpies Bakery is one of the region's many success stories having opened in Southwold before expanding to four sites and now employing 70 full-time staff. 

Steve Magnall, co-owner of the business alongside wife Rebecca Bishop, said that if the brand were not so well-recognised and loved the situation would be "disastrous". 

The team temporarily closed their site in Norwich's Timberhill after the Christmas break due to lack of footfall and were due to open this week - however this has been moved this back until the beginning of February. 

Its other sites in Darsham, Southwold and Aldeburgh are open including click and collect and takeaway pizza services. 


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"We need to make at least £700,000 a year just to break even - and there were days when we were taking around £100 or less before we went into this national lockdown. It's loss-making to open and sell three coffees, it costs me more to get a driver with stock to the site," Mr Magnall said. 

Two Magpies Bakery in Norwich, which has now branched out into selling celebration cakes in lockdown

Two Magpies Bakery in Norwich, which has now branched out into selling celebration cakes in lockdown. Pic: EDP - Credit: Archant

"That's before you account for all of the costs we have to pay: rent, wifi, electricity, national insurance, pensions - which we have to pay whether we open or not.

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"We hugely appreciate our customers - if it weren't for them we would be in a very different position - but with John Lewis no longer doing click and collect and Primark closed there is none of the passing footfall which gives us drag down the road. 

"We'll be open the first week of February to test how many customers we do get in," he said. 

"The help businesses need is a business rates holiday - there's no point giving people hope their company will survive and then taxing it into going bust.

"VAT should stay at the same level and I think some form of incentive to keep staff employed would be well received - there was talk of it but it's been kicked into the long grass. 

"We haven't lost a single member of staff throughout this and determined to keep it that way," he added. 

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